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Magnetic force microscopy measurements in external magnetic fields—comparison between coated probes and an iron filled carbon nanotube probe

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7 Author(s)
Wolny, F. ; Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, IFW Dresden, Helmholtzstrasse 20, 01069 Dresden, Germany ; Muhl, T. ; Weissker, U. ; Leonhardt, A.
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We performed magnetic force microscopy (MFM) measurements in external magnetic fields parallel to the sample plane to qualitatively study their effect on the magnetization of different kinds of MFM probes. As a test structure we used an array of rectangular ferromagnetic thin film elements aligned with the external magnetic field direction. MFM images were taken while the field was increased stepwise to monitor the onset of a tilt in the MFM probe magnetization. Three different probes were investigated: a conventional pyramidal probe coated with 40 nm of CoCrTa, a coated high aspect ratio MFM probe, and a MFM probe based on an iron filled carbon nanotube (FeCNT). The results show that the magnetization of the pyramidal probe is only stable in in-plane fields of up to ∼60 mT, in larger fields a considerable in-plane component of the tip magnetization is observed. This makes it difficult to distinguish the effect of the external field on the sample from those on the MFM probe. The coated high aspect ratio probe is at first stable up to ∼200 mT and then shows a history dependent behavior, in the second sweep the onset of the magnetization tilt is already visible at ∼100 mT. With the FeCNT probe, no tilt of the probe magnetization could be observed in in-plane fields up to the experimental limit of 230 mT. Due to the large shape anisotropy of the enclosed iron nanowire its direction of magnetization stays mainly oriented along the long axis even in moderate fields that deviate from this easy axis. Consequently, this probe is best suited for MFM measurements in external fields.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:108 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jul 2010

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